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Liberal leadership candidate Ted Hsu breaks bread in Sudbury

Hsu made an appearance at The Laughing Buddha alongside rock guitarist Rob Baker, of The Tragically Hip, as part of a four-day tour of Northern Ontario in support of his run for leader of the Ontario Liberal Party

The latest in a series of Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidates from southern Ontario to make the rounds in Sudbury, Ted Hsu stopped by to meet folks on Thursday evening.

Hsu appeared alongside rock guitarist Rob Baker, of The Tragically Hip, at The Laughing Buddha on Elgin Street. In a paid Facebook advertisement, Hsu billed the event as a chance to “meet a Canadian rock legend and talk politics.”

Baker endorsed Hsu as Ontario Liberal Party leader a few months ago, crediting the politician as being a “deeply ethical, highly principled man.” Hsu launched his campaign in May with Baker at his side, and Baker has continued on as one of his campaign co-chairs.

But, is Baker a political confidant or celebrity gimmick? 

Hsu argues the former. 

“He has been involved in campaigns and politics before, for many, many years now,” he told Sudbury.com prior to Thursday’s local appearance, adding that Baker supported him as far back as his first run at MP in 2011.

They also live a few blocks away from one another in Kingston.

“Rob Baker has travelled a lot, so he’s seen a lot of places, and he cares about where society is heading, and I would say the same for all the members of The Tragically Hip,” Hsu said. “His endorsement means a lot in that he trusts me, and that’s important.”

Baker offered introductory remarks during Thursday’s meet-and-greet event at The Laughing Buddha.

“I’ve known Ted for a long time as a federal MP and a father to his daughters, and now as an MPP,” Baker said. “He has ferocious intelligence and real integrity. He’s the kind of guy who represents his constituents to the government rather than the government to the constituents.”

Hsu is one of five registered leadership candidates, all from southern Ontario, and is the fourth to make a public appearance thus far on the campaign trail (though he said he last visited Sudbury in October as part of an information-gathering mission).

The four candidates Sudbury.com have either spoken with or received information from have pledged to voice the concerns of Northern Ontario in Queen’s Park, and Hsu was no exception.

However, he clarified that he’s unique in that he’s the only leadership candidate from a smaller city and rural area. Kingston also has a mine, and Hsu serves as the Ontario Liberal Party’s mines critic.

“I want to consider policies from a long-term community point of view,” Hsu said. “That will affect things like thinking about transportation links, schools and health-care services.”

Between internet connectivity shortcomings in the north and the condition of highways and winter roads maintenance, Hsu said he has been made aware of various regional concerns during this week’s four-day tour of the area, as well as past trips to the region.

Another priority, which he said affects natural resources such as mining, is improving partnerships with Indigenous communities.

“Relationship building with Indigenous communities should be done at the highest level, and not just waiting for a problem,” he said. 

During his presentation, Hsu espoused the virtues of being nice and respectful in the world of politics, but clarified that there is a place for negativity when it comes to shining a light on government shortcomings.

Hsu served as Kingston and the Island’s Liberal MP from 2011 to 2015, and has represented Kingston and the Islands as a Liberal MPP since 2022. Before politics, he worked in science, business and sustainable energy.

Prior to Hsu’s appearance on Thursday, the latest Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate to tour Northern Ontario was Yasir Naqvi, who shared his Northern Ontario Platform with Sudbury.com.

Past Sudbury NDP MP and Liberal MPP Glenn Thibeault, who was kicking the tires for a Liberal leadership run last year, and is now co-chair of Naqvi’s campaign.

Fellow Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Bonnie Crombie toured Northern Ontario last month. Candidate Nate Erskine-Smith made an exploratory visit to the region in April, before affirming his candidacy the following month.

With Thursday’s appearance by Hsu, Adil Shamji is the only one of the five declared Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidates yet to visit Greater Sudbury on the campaign trail.*

*Editor's note: Since this story was initially published, Sudbury.com has learned that Shamji did visit Sudbury this summer, but his visit was unannounced and local media was not alerted.

Party members will cast ranked ballots Nov. 25-26, and the deadline for candidates to register is Sept. 5.

A series of five leadership candidate debates have been scheduled to take place, none of which to be held in the Greater Sudbury area. Events are slated to be hosted in Thunder Bay, Stratford, Toronto, Ottawa, and Brampton. 

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.
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